Monday, August 29, 2016

  If you are a gardener, ( and if not, my deepest sympathies) you will be transported to glory by this piece.

 "Independently of romantic rubbish, however, that old garden had its charms. On summer mornings I used to rise early, to enjoy them alone; on summer evenings, to linger solitary, to keep tryst with the rising moon, or taste the kiss of the evening breeze, or fancy rather than feel the freshness of dew descending. The turf was verdant, the graveled walks were white; sunbright nasturtiums clustered beautiful about the roots of the doddered orchard giants. There was a large berceau, above which spread the shade of an acacia; there was a smaller, more sequestered bower, nestled in the vines which ran all along a high and grey wall, and gathered their tendrils in a knot of beauty, and hung their clusters in loving profusion about the favored spot where jasmine and ivy met and married them." Charlotte Bronte.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Moments of inspiration

The following is a description of Helen, a fourteen-year-old girl and a moment of inspiration that overtakes her conversation and the impact it had on Jane Eyre, a girl of eleven, as she listened and watched her.

  "The refreshing meal, the brilliant fire, the presence and kindness of her beloved instructress, or, perhaps, more than all these, something in her own unique mind, had roused her powers within her. They woke, they kindled: first, they glowed in the bright tint of her cheek, which till this hour I had never seen but pale and bloodless; then they shone in the liquid luster of her eyes, which had suddenly acquired a beauty more singular than that of Miss Temple's -- a beauty neither of fine color nor long eyelash, nor penciled brow, but of meaning, of movement, of radiance. Then her soul sat on her lips, and language flowed, from what source I cannot tell: has a girl of fourteen a heart large enough, vigorous enough, to hold the swelling spring of pure, full fervid eloquence? Such was the characteristic of Helen's discourse on that, to me, memorable evening; her spirit seemed hastening to live within a very brief span as much as many live during a protracted existence." Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre.

 I picked up an old copy of Life magazine today; it's cover story was about the Jesus movement revival that took place in the late sixties and early seventies. I was saved in 1969 and Jesus was in the news then, in a good way. The article begins with this intro -- 

  "For a solid week the Jesus movement rolled at exuberant crest over Dallas, 80,000 young people from across the U.S. and from foreign lands, shouting, sining, praying and praising His name in a mammoth burst of Christian zeal. A religious Woodstock." 
I don't think the U.S. has had another revival since. But we continue to pray. 

 "Those who have means and are willing, each according to his own choice, gives what he wills, and what is collected is deposited with the president. He provides for the orphans and widows, those who are in need on account of sickness or some other cause, those who are in bonds, strangers who are sojourning, and in a word he becomes the protector of all who are in need.”
Justin Martyr, early church father. 

This quote is part of a teaching about how to conduct service in the early church. I know I depart from the majority when I say I believe that this represents New Testament giving. I think the world would be reached far more if we adopted this way of giving, though our churches would be measurably more modest. I love thinking of the church as "the protector of all who are in need." 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

  "Every age which is moved by the Spirit of God feels keenly the searching, chastening power of that Divine Presence. "He that is near me," the Lord is reported to have said, "is near Fire." And we cannot hope to enjoy the splendor of a fuller, purer light without enduring the pain which necessarily comes from the removal of the veils by which it was obscured. Gain through apparent loss; victory through momentary defeat; the energy of a new life through pangs of travail -- such has ever been the law of spiritual progress." Bishop Wescott.

  "As the Bible speaks to us all independently, and so claims our individual service, it speaks to us also at each crisis of our spiritual growth. How often it happens that a great sorrow, or a great joy, or the slow passage of years makes sayings clear which were dark before. And besides all this, there is a natural progress in our understanding the Scriptures. Some things we can see when we are children; some things are open to us in maturer years; some things remain mysteries to the end." Bishop Westcott.